Thursday, January 6, 2011

Destroying the Credibility of Science

By Alan Caruba

Back in 1990 when I founded The National Anxiety Center as a clearinghouse for information about “scare campaigns” designed to influence public opinion and policy, I was mainly concerned about the torrent of lies about global warming.

Their beginning is usually dated to an appearance by James E. Hansen before a congressional committee in 1988 in which he claimed that global warming would destroy the earth. To this day Hansen heads the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and has held that position since 1981. There is no rational reason why he continues to be employed by the U.S. government.

Global warming has been widely discredited thanks to the November 2009 release of thousands of emails between UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change “scientists” that revealed their collusion to rig the data that supported the fraud.

GLOBAL WARMING. Climate alarmists are already worrying that the public has grown so tired of their idiotic claims that huge blizzards are caused by “warming” they are beginning to pour money into the education of a new generation of “environmental journalists” to ensure that more such lies make it to the front page of your daily newspaper or via other media.

Meanwhile, billions of taxpayer’s dollars have been flushed down the federal government rat hole to fund “research” guaranteed to support the hoax. It gets worse. Despite the defeat of the Cap-and-Trade bill based on the Big Lie that carbon dioxide and other so-called greenhouse gases cause global warming, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is attempting an end-run around Congress to impose limits on the carbon dioxide emissions of utilities and every form of manufacturing and business in America.

The EPA is engaged in a perversion of science, but what else is new? Americans have been ill-served by the alphabet soup of government agencies supposedly in place to protect the food we eat, medicines we take, the air and the water. In the process they are just as often stripping Americans of the protection afforded by pharmaceuticals and beneficial chemicals.

VACCINES v. AUTISM. A case in point is an article in the British Medical Journal that “accused a disgraced British doctor of committing an ‘elaborate fraud’ by faking data in his studies linking vaccines with autism.”

The result of that fraud was to convince thousands, if not millions, of parents that vaccines to protect their children against measles and mumps were a threat to their health. The ancillary question is why Andrew Wakefield’s paper was published in 1998. Science journals are expected to peer review such papers and determine if the data presented is valid. If it cannot be reproduced, it fails that test.

DDT. Starting in 1972, an EPA ban essentially ended its use anywhere in the nation and other nations followed suit. A year later a court upheld the EPA and that is an object lesson in what happens when matters of science are decided by men and women, lawyers, with no training or background in science. The DDT hoax continues to cause malaria deaths, particularly in Africa and mostly affecting women and children.

The U.S. is experiencing an outbreak of the bed bug population, eliminated decades ago, because the EPA has banned or limited the use of virtually every pesticide to exterminate them.

ALAR. Recall, too, the fraud perpetrated by environmental groups against Alar, a chemical that was widely used by apple growers to ensure that the crop would ripen in a fashion that permitted an efficient harvest. The Alar hoax cost American apple growers millions in lost revenue until it became known that Alar posed no health threat whatever.

SACCHARINE. Though cleared of charges dating from the 1980s that saccharin was a cancer-causing substance, it took until the 1990s to get it removed from the 9th edition of the “Report on Carcinogens” and it took until mid-December 2010 for the EPA to finally admit what everyone knew by then. You can thank “consumer” groups for foisting this fraud on everyone and agencies of the U.S. government for maintaining it until they no longer could.

BPA. A similar campaign exists to ban BPA, bisphenol-A, a chemical used to line plastic bottles and containers. It is literally a worldwide effort and it too is without any scientific merit. In the same way the claim that linked vaccines and autism, BPA is under attack, particularly in the U.S. and Europe. I have written about this in the past and intend to follow this to demonstrate how these “scientific” frauds debase all science in the process.

Aside from the fact that these claims always begin with a dubious “scientific” study and then escalate as other “scientists” climb on the funding bandwagon, the other element is always the role that the mainstream media plays in keeping the fraud alive until the sheer weight of evidence makes it impossible to do so.

Ultimately, this destroys the trust we normally accord to legitimate scientists, exhausting our ability and willingness to embrace the science that has prolonged and protected the lives of millions.

© Alan Caruba, 2011


LarryOldtimer said...

As of about 1963, US citizens had it the best, Alan. A military powerful enough deter war, paternal big and small businesses with managers that looked after their employees' needs, genuine upward mobility for minorities and women with qualifications, a good economy based on mining, smelting, industry and manufacturing, and in many other ways.

In 1962 Rachael Carson's book, Silent Spring was published, full of pseudoscience, and frightened the US public out of its wits. Public money was hugely wasted, and individuals with scientific degrees began to hop on the money wagon of government grants.

That was the beginning of the end of the US.

In his farewell speech of 1961 President Eisenhower warned us:

"Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.

In this revolution, research has become central, it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.

It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system – ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society.

Another factor in maintaining balance involves the element of time. As we peer into society's future, we – you and I, and our government – must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering for, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without asking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow."

Alas, not enough citizens paid heed to Ike

C2ShiningC said...

Alan, why haven't I heard of you before? I run into this stuff all the time. Dioxin is another one. Chlordane is about the only weapon we had against the Argentine ant which now has super-colonies all over the world. is a horrible example of where this thing is headed. I grew up in the Oak View area. Most were hard working, god fearing, people that were roughnecks, drillers, riggers and construction workers that worked in the nearby oilfields if they weren't off fighting the Japs and Germans. Now their grandchildren are being indoctrinated with the idea that grandfather destroyed the planet.
Ken Chapman

TheJollyGreenMan said...

Hi Alan,

Whilst I agree with your comments, your list did not include the lies surrounding 2nd hand smoke.

Hitler, an eco-warrior, vegetarian and anti-smoker, would be proud!

Have you ever read the posts of the PPV, the party founded by Geert Wilders on this topic?

Richard said...

I believe Dr Wakefield was "struck off" in UK, but moved to US, and may currently be working there.

Maybe worth checking up.

Richard said...

Yes he was struck off :-

Rich Kozlovich said...


Great article! It has been my wont lately to make the statement that global warming has made the term "scientific integrity" an oxymoron. In point of fact....the global warming fraud merely exposed how much of an oxymoron it has been for many years.

Another homerun article!


Alan Caruba said...

@Rich: Thank you. I will go now and admire myself in the mirror. No wait, some old guy just stares back at me. I think I will settle for your kind words.

Third Coast said...

And let's not forget the "frankenfood" scaremongering. Folks in Africa lucky enough to survive malaria may be hungry because they're denied genetically modified crops that will flourish in their particular region.

Alan Caruba said...

@Third Coast.

You're right!